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Drakeford says he’s already meeting more often with Welsh Secretary Buckland than he did with predecessor Hart

07 Sep 2022 3 minute read
New Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland. Photo Jonathan Brady PA Images. First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Mark Drakeford has said his relationship with the reappointed Welsh Secretary is “off to a reasonable start”, and that they have already met more often than he did with Robert Buckland’s predecessor Simon Hart in a year.

The Welsh First Minister said he was meeting with Sir Robert Buckland on Wednesday afternoon, hours after the MP survived Liz Truss’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Drakeford also urged the new Prime Minister to use Labour’s already “costed plan” to tackle the energy crisis.

Sir Robert was first appointed to the role in July in the final days of Boris Johnson’s premiership, and has been kept on by Ms Truss despite initially backing her rival, Rishi Sunak, in the Tory leadership contest.

Speaking from a school in Pembrokeshire as the Welsh Government began the rollout of universal free school meals to all primary school children, Mr Drakeford said Sir Robert had “demonstrated he is keen to work with us”.

He told the PA news agency: “I’ve already met with Mr Buckland more times in a couple of months than I met with Mr (Simon) Hart in a year.

“But it’s very early days. We will look for a positive, constructive relationship with the new Government wherever that is possible.

“For that to be possible, they have to come to the table with us in a spirit of mutual respect, in which we recognise the things that are devolved, for which we are responsible, and the things which they retain responsibility for, in Whitehall.

“With a meeting later today we’re off to a reasonable start.”

‘Prosperity’

Former Welsh secretary Simon Hart, who quit his Cabinet role amid mounting pressure for Mr Johnson to step down, repeatedly came to blows with the Welsh Government over devolved issues and constitutional matters.

Sir Robert, who is from Llanelli in South Wales, is the MP for South Swindon.

The choice to appoint another MP who represents an English constituency as Welsh Secretary has been criticised by Plaid Cymru.

In a statement, Sir Robert said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be reappointed as the Secretary of State for Wales.

“Wales has a huge part to play in our longer-term energy needs with potential for offshore wind, nuclear and renewable energy schemes.

“These are projects that create jobs and prosperity, help secure our energy future and deliver our net-zero targets.

“I am a proud Welshman and a proud unionist and want to see Wales prosper as a strong part of our successful United Kingdom.”

As pressure mounts on Ms Truss to reveal her plans to tackle the energy and cost-of-living crisis, Mr Drakeford said: “(Labour leader) Keir Starmer has already set out a detailed and costed plan as to how that could be done.

“The best thing of all she could do would be to take that plan off the shelf and put it to work.

“It would mean an energy cap freeze paid for through a windfall tax on the profits of companies who are making money hand over fist during this crisis.

“Not by borrowing money, not by putting it on people’s bills for another 20 years, but taking money from people who’ve got far more than they ever expected and putting that to work in the lives of people who don’t have enough.”


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Gareth Cemlyn Jones
Gareth Cemlyn Jones
21 days ago

Proud Welshman and proud unionist, surely a contradiction in terms!

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
21 days ago

Here’s a clue MD. Nationalise water, power, and land.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
21 days ago

Sorry Robert, but you as an English MP can’t be a proud Welshman and a Unionist. Both are incompatible, especially when that Union doesn’t even represent you or your former country Wales. Learn your history. And sure you can bury your head in the sand, anglicise your Llanelli accent all you like to fit in to your new surroundings, but please don’t peddle an historical falsehood that Wales is an equal member of this false United Kingdom when it isn’t. I suggest he read the Act of Union Wales 1535 to 1543. Also, I find it interesting to hear how… Read more »

Crwtyddol
Crwtyddol
20 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

It would be interesting if WG unilaterally declared the were going To go ahead with establishing a Welsh Judicial system. It would bring the issue centre stage. With the pedigree of Hywel Dda, we ave credibility.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
15 days ago
Reply to  Crwtyddol

Yes, What is to stop the Welsh Government from setting up a Welsh Judicial system ?
Why not its own currency, financial system, national central bank, and stock exchange ?

George
George
21 days ago

Would be interesting to know how many times Buckland has spoken about being Welsh before this appointment?

A new start but his previous comments suggest he’s Westminster’s man and will be the face of lots of policies we don’t like here. Let’s see how it develops.

Gareth
Gareth
21 days ago

Robert Buckland says we have a ” huge” role to play in supplying energy, ie, bend over Cymru for another shafting. If he wants to use nuclear power, why does he not ask for a nuclear power station to be built in Swindon, to make up for the over 5 thousand that lost their jobs when the Honda plant closed, they are his constituents and on the dole.

Last edited 21 days ago by Gareth
Crwtyddol
Crwtyddol
20 days ago

I can’t think of a more arrogant politician than Simon Hart, and I used to be a member of the Countryside Alliance and once heard him speak in person.

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